Benefits of Educational Technology
Technology has completely transformed everyday life, from the way we keep in touch with friends and family to the way we shop for clothes or order dinner. With each technological advancement our world gets more efficient and more individualized to our specific needs and preferences. This is the world the children of today have been born into.
It’s natural, then, that many kids are struggling to fit into the traditional learning model. The experience of being in a traditional classroom—sitting still at a desk for hours, raising a hand to share an opinion, and going at the same pace as everyone else—is at odds with the almost constant stimulation and fast pace of a technologically-advanced world. The typical school day, for some kids, is almost unbearably rigid.
“This distractibility is compounded in students, who haven’t yet mastered the ability to keep school and home life separate and rarely get adequate sleep on school nights.”
Incorporating even a few educational technology devices in the classroom can help acclimate today’s students to the learning environment. With classroom technology, teachers can level the playing field for students with different learning styles, make project work more efficient, increase overall student engagement, and accommodate students with disabilities.
1. Making learning more individualized.
One of the greatest advantages of educational technology is the ability to cater to multiple learning styles at the same time. Every kind of student, from creatives to problem solvers and visual to kinesthetic learners, can benefit from an interactive touchscreen display. Whether you use an interactive whiteboard, an interactive laser projector, or an interactive panel, touchscreen displays can instantly foster a collaborative and equitable learning environment.
When you implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy in your classroom using wireless screen sharing, students are able to interact with the content at their own pace and make personalized annotations on individual interactive monitors or their personal smartphones or tablets.
2. Improving student engagement and classroom participation.
Student engagement is rarely (if ever) at 100%. Teachers too can have a hard time keeping personal problems, wandering thoughts, and just straight up sleepiness at bay during school hours. This distractibility is compounded in students, who haven’t yet mastered the ability to keep school and home life separate and rarely get adequate sleep on school nights.
One method to improve classroom engagement and focus is offering individualized attention, something wireless tablets and interactive monitors make possible. With wireless devices in hand, teachers are free to roam and make eye contact, without having to turn their backs on students while referencing the material on the projector screen or whiteboard.
Even if every student were prepared and focused, one-third to one-half of your class may be composed of introverts who would literally choose to have teeth pulled over raising their hands to speak. Teachers frequently use required classroom participation to force students who are usually passive listeners outside their comfort zone and keep everyone alert and on their toes. While this strategy can sometimes be a welcome challenge for some introverted students, who must be prepared to live in a world that highly values extroversion, it can also paint introversion as a flaw that must be overcome instead of a natural gift.
An audience response system can balance your classroom participation strategy, allowing introverted students to demonstrate that they’re following along without being singled out. In fact, audience response devices can generate an even livelier discussion by giving a voice to every student.
Picture this: You ask a question to the whole class, but you only get answers out of 3–4 of your most reliably talkative students. What if you encouraged the entire class to vote A, B, C, or D with an audience response device to indicate which viewpoint they agree with (or choose E if they have an entirely different opinion)? When voting is complete, the results are shown at the front of the classroom. Are the results surprising? If this is your first time hearing from your entire class at once, most likely.
“Under the supervision of tech-savvy instructors, [educational technology’s] collaborative power can be wielded to make project work more efficient.”
3. Increasing efficiency of project work and promoting collaboration.
If you’ve seen the widely circulating Twitter anecdote about students using Google Docs to share notes during a lecture, you know that your students are already using technology to work together in the classroom and at home, for better or worse. Under the supervision of tech-savvy instructors, this collaborative power can be wielded to make project work more efficient.
The Google Suite eliminates scheduling conflicts between students and makes it easier for instructors to gauge the amount of work contributed by each project partner (by using version history). By requiring students to share their project document with you before they start working, you can keep tabs on them up until the deadline, making them less likely to procrastinate.
Using a large interactive display with multi-touch abilities can promote collaboration in class, allowing multiple students to stand and interact with the material simultaneously. The same results can be achieved with more students by using writing tablets or wireless screen sharing. Some cloud-based collaboration software even allows students to write annotations over everything, from digital documents to zoomed in photos of science class specimens taken by a document camera, and upload their notes to the cloud to be viewed later on another device.
4. Creating a more accessible classroom.
Introducing digital learning tools can make it easier to meet the needs of students with cognitive, physical, or learning disabilities. Giving your students the ability to access classroom material through crystal clear audio, legible visuals that can be magnified, and haptic technology or kinesthetic communication are vital steps to making your classroom more accessible to students with disabilities.
For some students with disabilities, a large, bright, and easy-to-use interactive display, an HD resolution document camera with high digital zoom, or a sound system can help them follow along with the material at their own pace, clearly see small-print textbooks and documents, and hear teachers clearly when they speak.
Also consider whether the applications you’re using are compatible with your students’ assistive technology. Does your hardware and software work with alternative input devices, text-to-speech, and screen readers? When purchasing technology for the classroom, choose flexible hardware that allows you to use your own software.
Curious about how to get started with technology in your classroom?
Once you’ve decided to take advantage of the numerous benefits of educational technology, you’ll need help determining which strategies and devices are best for your particular classroom. That’s where QOMO comes in. Get in touch with a member of our team to request a demo, or give us some details about your educational technology needs so we can reach out to you.
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